By now, we all know what happened in New York on Saturday. Serena Williams was defeated in the final by Naomi Osaka. But it wasn't the loss, although that was surprising, that made the headlines.
Quick recap: Naomi wins the first set in dominating fashion. She's leading in the second when Serena blows up. Three penalties pretty much ended her chance of winning.
Let's take a look at them:
1. She's given a warning for getting help from her coach. It's not allowed at a Grand Slam event. Even though her coach admitted to giving signals, it's pretty much a ticky tack offense. It happens all the time and is rarely called. Still, it's just a warning. This shouldn't have set off a veteran champion like Serena...and yet for some reason it did.
2. The warning led to the smashing of her racket. That's clearly a code violation and you do see that called on a regular basis. Not all the time, but enough that you can't be shocked when it is called. Still, the penalty is just a single point. It didn't cost her the match. Serena could have and should have battled on. She's overcome much worse adversity before.
3. The third violation is the one that actually did cost her the chance for a comeback win. When she called the chair umpire Carlos Ramos a "thief", she lost a game. It doesn't if you're a twenty-three time major winner or if you're in your first tournament, you can't use that term against an official. You're challenging the integrity of the chair umpire. If you do that in any sport, it gets you a well deserved ejection. Honestly, I think one game in a match is a pretty light punishment. It just happened at a bad time.
Here's the sad thing about what happened on Saturday. These events overshadowed what was a great victory by the twenty year old Osaka. Have you ever seen someone who so overwhelmed and uncomfortable by what happened as Naomi? Sure, it was nice that Serena tried to take her under her wing, comfort her and make her feel better about what occurred but don't forget the reason for all of it was one hundred per cent Serena.
Too bad the next tennis major isn't until January. For those who follow tennis, this story won't go away until then. When Serena wonders why, all she needs to do is look in the mirror.